“Le Pantalon Rouge, C’est La France!”

Tippecanoe Band With Red Pants
Tippecanoe Band



Ancient battlefields were inundated with colorful uniforms, tall easily visible hats festooned with tassles and feathers, ornate unit flags, horns, and all of these attention getting and vibrant vestments were simply ways for warriors to identify where they were on a battlefield, and where they were supposed to be.  At the end of the 20th century long-range firearms and fully automatic weapons made it possible to level soldiers from extreme distances. Soon enough we began to see the precursors to camouflage.  The British abandoned red uniforms and adopted khaki uniforms. Germans changed their uniforms from blue to gray. The French however had a different way of looking at it. A distinctly local and nationalist one: “Le Pantalon Rouge, c’est la France!” During the Battle of the Marne in 1914 the French marched into bright yellow cornfields in bright red trousers and jackets. Bullets whistled accurately into their ranks, easily seen, even through the fog and smoke of the battlefield. The following year a desaturated dark blue color graced the uniform of the French.


Sources: Wikipedia and Flickr




3 thoughts on ““Le Pantalon Rouge, C’est La France!””

  1. Pingback: Rogue One- The Empire is Real | The Way Out

  2. “During the Battle of the Marne in 1914 the French marched into bright yellow cornfields in bright red trousers and jackets.”

    Trousers, but not jackets. Jackets were dark blue or dark indigo, like in 1870.

  3. And I believe you mean the end of the 19th century, not the end of the 20th, as that was only 17 years ago. Here’s a picture of the uniform:
    And the french were not as stupid as you think. Apparantly this was a case of the Military-Industrial complex and porkbarreling. Just before the turn of the century (1899-1900), the french army needed\wanted a new uniform. Something khaki, like the french colonials already had, was preffered. However, when they heard about this, some french dye makers lobbied for the red dyed trousers, as that could be made cheaply in France, and the other dyes would be either more expensive, or had to be imported. And as they greased the correct palms, the french army was saddled with red trousers for another half generation

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *